We recently met up with our friend Stephanie to take a peek inside her beauty bagg. Don’t be fooled by the professional exterior of this pharmacist, however – this health care professional is Sephora VIB status!
Name: Stephanie Pham
Tell us about yourself!
I grew up in Garland, TX. I met my husband in high school and we both went to college together at UT. We were high school sweethearts. Now I manage my own pharmacy in Las Colinas [a suburb of Dallas]. I like to eat out and I love my dog, a corgie named Koji!
What were your first memories of using makeup?
I started doing makeup when I was in middle school. I hung out with all the “bad kids” back then and we wanted to go for the goth look, with thick black eyeliner.
What attracted you to the goth look?
Chinese families are so strait-laced, so that was my breakaway from that a little bit. It made me feel on the dangerous side even though I was actually a really good kid and made straight A’s.
With makeup, you don’t have to do anything major, but you can feel like a whole different person.
By high school I guess I figured out that it was not a good look. I started wearing less eyeliner and added a little bit of mascara because I was still trying to date my husband at that time. I would think, “Oh, maybe if I wear more mascara he’ll notice me!”
My parents thought it was just puppy love. I showed them!
Do you think the media portrays an artificial ideal of beauty?
People blame the media more than they really should. I don’t think they’re doing a horrible job of portraying something; it’s just how you react to that portrayal.
Since I’m a healthcare professional, I see people who get plastic surgery all the time. And they’re so self-conscious. When I’m talking to them, sometimes I’ll ask, “Is it what you expected? Are you happy with how it looks?” Most of the time they’re still not happy and keep going back for more.
Some people never show their face. They always have other people come to the pharmacy for them, and I figured out it’s because of a self-image issue. Some still put crazy, crazy makeup on, like eyelash extensions just to go jogging. You can tell a lot of times they never look you in the eye and never want to talk about anything. That gives me an indication that despite doing all that stuff you’re still not happy with yourself… I think that’s a little bit sad.
Since I’m a healthcare professional, I see people who get plastic surgery all the time. When I’m talking to them, sometimes I’ll ask, “Is it what you expected? Are you happy with how it looks?”
What do you use for skincare?
I just got the Clairsonic brush. I love it. It’s only been a week and it’s gotten rid of a lot of bumps. I use that first. Then I use Korres pomegranate pore-minimizing moisturizer. It smells like roses!
Your makeup looks so natural! What’s your usual routine?
I’ve been breaking out recently, so I dab on Stila concealer. Then I use my liquid foundation and blend that. Usually I do my eyebrows first. I’ve tried a bunch and the Benefit brown gel one is a lot better, so I brush it on diagonally. The nude eyeshadow goes on my eyelids because when I’m tired they get brown and red.
Then liquid eyeliner, top and bottom. I just pull my eyelid and do my line, sometimes I swoop it up, sometimes I don’t, it never looks the same!
What beauty features do you feel most self-conscious about?
I have really thin eyebrows, so for the most part I have to draw them in. My eyebrows stop right there [points at half way point of eye]. One day, my cousin made an innocent comment to me and said, “You look like your eyes are smiling because they look like semicircles!” I was like, oh my god. It was completely innocent but to this day I still think about it. That comment traumatized me!
Also, I have huge lips, so I think I can’t do the dramatic red lip thing. And when my skin breaks out, it makes me very sad.
And look — even Stephanie’s corgie Koji loves her beauty products:
How does your husband feel about your beauty obsession?
If he’s watching me do makeup, he’ll stare at me, and be like, “What does that do?” “Do you need that?” I’m like, “Yes, go away!!”
Thanks for letting us in on your beauty secrets, Stephanie! You rock.
Do you have any questions or suggestions for Stephanie? If so, leave them in the comments below.
At $21/month, GlossyBox is one of the pricier beauty subscription boxes (compare to MyGlam or Birchbox, both at $10), so we were curious to see what it would offer.
We have to say that the packaging is gorgeous – a glossy pink box that instantly brightened our mood! And some of our friends have gotten even more creative with it. But what about the products inside?
- Beauty Addicts Showoff Mascara in Jet Black: This mascara, like all expensive mascara, has a debate-worthy price. It has a unique curved brush that gets to those hard-to-reach outer and inner lashes, but it’s also hard to control and smudges quite easily. We certainly had more trouble preventing smudging and applying an even layer of mascara than it was worth, even at $20 a pop. Thank you Glossy Box for this insight. $20 for this size (full).
- A Perfume Organic in Urban Organic: We hated this, and it seems our online pals did as well. The supposedly “sweet lemon sorbet with bourbon, tangy lime peel, basil, and ginger” smelled like a musky, lemony cleaning solution. It was also an oily solution (interesting for a perfume), and we can’t really see this being something you spritz on for a nice smell. This was a bonus sample product.
- Shea Terra Bourbon Vanilla Whipped Shea Butter Body Creme: Now this, on the other hand, smelled like sugar cookies. And for us, that is a very, very good thing. As a body moisturizing cream, it felt super-luxe and decadent, leaving our skin smooth and smelling faintly of vanilla without being overpowering. We loved this. $2 for travel size.
- First Aid Beauty Smooth Shave Cream: We heard good things about this shaving cream, and we weren’t disappointed. This is a nice, odorless cream that leaves your legs feeling soft after shaving. The biggest difference between this and a drugstore shaving cream is probably how thin the cream is when applied; it doesn’t foam as much as other shave gels from the can, and it was a nice difference, causing a softer shaving experience. $7.50 for travel size.
- Wella Professionals Enrich Moisturizing Treatment: This hair mask was a nice product and fairly-sized, with enough to keep our hair silky for a week or two. Our only complaint is that this treatment is only for “fine to normal hair”, which has us wondering what Glossy Box thought women with thick or curly hair were going to do with it. $2 for travel size, but we found this size at Ulta for $5.
- Kinerase Restructure Firming Cream: Unfortunately, it’s a bit early to tell if our faces and necks are really becoming firmer, but the expense of this product ($98 for full size) and its serious-looking packaging makes us hope we’ll be seeing results soon. $13.84 for sample size.
These added up to over $45 worth of product!